Every February my mind begins to turn to hearts, flowers and roses. It may be because I am a hopeless romantic or it could be that there is no way to avoid all of the commercials this time of year. I know that Valentine’s Day can conjur up all sorts of emotions. Some people love it, some hate it and some fear the day. I have a friend who stays home in bed and waits for the day to go by. I had an old boyfriend who called it a “Hallmark” holiday and said he did not need some huge corporation to tell him what day he must declare his love for me. Personally - I think it was his excuse because he forgot but I did admire his impassioned declaration. But I digress….
Getting acknowledged on Valentine’s Day feels good. Remember in grade school when you brought those cute little valentine day cards for each of your class mates? Some were store bought and some were hand made. My mom believed making valentine’s by hand was more personal so she had all six of my brothers and sisters sit down at the kitchen table and cut out hearts, write meaningful notes, tie ribbons, attached chocolate kisses. It took days, lots of construction paper, and tons of patience on her part but in the end every one of our classmates received a special valentine. I still remember watching my friends open my cards and seeing their smiles.
Maybe that is why I got into donor relations? I love to see that look on a donor’s face when we have surprised and delighted them. We remembered a special day. We knew their favorite flower. We had their scholarship recipient perform their favorite song. We showed them the impact of their gift.
Every day we get the chance to recognized, acknowledge, demonstrate our gratefulness to alumni, donors, parents, patients, members and friends who love our organization. Of all of the many non-profits in the world they selected ours to support. They love our mission. They love our work. They love our plans. They believe in us!
They are in a relationship with us and it is incumbent upon those of us in donor relations to keep this relationship strong and vital. We must know what drew them to our organization. We need to know what will keep them loyal to our organization. We need to keep wooing them. We cannot take them for granted. We need demonstrate our deep respect to them. We need to find new ways to show them we need them and are grateful for them.
So I challenge you all to re-think Valentine’s Day – it is more than a romantic holiday to be loved, hated or feared. It is a day to demonstrate your organization’s love to your donors. But if you miss it this year remember there are 364 other days to do it. Just do it – these relationships are important and should never be taken for granted.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all!!
Thank you to Angie Joens of the DRG group for this warm and thoughtful post.
What do you think?